Universidade Da Paz
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UNPAZ was one of a number of universities that emerged after Timorese independence from Indonesia in 1999. It was founded after UNDIL (Universidade Dili) in Masquerinhas folded due to unresolved internal issues. For its first few months it operated from temporary premises, before purchasing land to build a new campus south-west of the city centre. (Coordinates: 8°33'54"S 125°32'52"E, shown here). By 2005, most of the main campus buildings were established and several hundred students were attending classes, taught by returning expatriate and local Timorese. Most of the student body were participants in the struggle for Timorese independence, including ex-Falintil guerrillas, who had been denied a university education during the conflict prior to 1999.
The founding and present Rector is Prof. Lucas da Costa, a Timorese economist, who also serves as a member of parliament for the Partidu Demokratiku (PD). Former lecturers include Dr. Jacqueline Aquino Siapno (later of Seoul National University), the wife of politician Fernando `Lasama' de Araujo, and environmental scientist Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho, the 2004 Goldman Environmental Prize winner.
The university offers degrees in several disciplines, including social science, public health, engineering, and the sciences. Its Faculties include Public Health, Engineering, and Agricultural Technology. It now has over 150 Instructors, many on part-time contracts but few with doctorates, and 3,500 students. There is also an outreach program to teach in East Timor's rural districts. Campus expansion and development is supported by grants from the European Commission.
UNPAZ faces challenges common to other Timorese universities. The university sector in the country was totally destroyed by violence in the late 1990s and is not yet fully rebuilt, meaning a lack of tertiary education resources and trained personnel. The language of instruction at UNPAZ varies, and has been primarily Bahasa Indonesia. It has received some national and international financial assistance, but relies largely on student fees. It is building up library resources, partly with international assistance. Internet connections were poor for several years.
A 2010 report on science education in East Timor notes the considerable lack of human and physical resources for teaching STEM subjects, and that at UNPAZ, laboratory facilities exist for each science subject, but are not yet fully equipped.
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